Words on How to Experience Failures, Falls, Trials, and Refinement

Excerpt 59

In their belief in God, what people seek is to obtain blessings for the future; this is their goal in their faith. All people have this intent and hope, but the corruption in their nature must be resolved through trials and refinement. In whichever aspects you are not purified and reveal corruption, these are the aspects in which you must be refined—this is God’s arrangement. God creates an environment for you, forcing you to be refined there so that you can know your own corruption. Ultimately, you reach a point at which you would rather die and give up your schemes and desires, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Therefore, if people do not have several years of refinement, if they do not endure a certain amount of suffering, they will not be able to rid themselves of the bondage of corruption of the flesh in their thoughts and in their hearts. In whichever aspects people are still subject to the bondage of their satanic nature, and in whichever aspects they still have their own desires and their own demands, these are the aspects in which they should suffer. Only through suffering can lessons be learned, which means being able to gain truth, and understand God’s will. In fact, many truths are understood by experiencing painful trials. Nobody can comprehend God’s will, recognize God’s almightiness and wisdom, or appreciate God’s righteous disposition when in a comfortable and easy environment or when circumstances are favorable. That would be impossible!

Excerpt 60

Some people have experienced some failures in the past, such as being dismissed for not doing any practical work as a leader or for coveting the benefits of status. After being dismissed several times, some of them do undergo a bit of true change, so is being dismissed a good thing or a bad thing for people? (It’s a good thing.) When they are dismissed for the first time, people feel like the sky is falling. It is as if their hearts have simply been broken. They cannot hold themselves up anymore and they do not know which direction to go in. But after the experience, they think, “That wasn’t such a big deal. Why was my stature so small before? How could I have been so immature?” This proves that they have made progress in life, and that they have understood a little about God’s will, the truth, and the purpose of God’s salvation of man. This is the process of experiencing God’s work. You must admit and accept these methods that God uses in His work, that is, constantly pruning and dealing with you, or passing verdicts on you, saying that you are hopeless, saying that you are not someone who will be saved, and even condemning and cursing you. You may feel negative, but by seeking the truth and by reflecting on yourself and knowing yourself, you will soon be able to climb back up, and follow God and perform your duties normally. This is what it means to grow in life. So, is experiencing more dismissals good or bad? Is this method that God uses in His work correct? (It is.) However, people sometimes don’t recognize this, and cannot accept it. Particularly when they first experience being dismissed, they feel like they are being treated unfairly, they are always reasoning with and blaming God, unable to overcome this hurdle. Why can’t they overcome it? Is it because they are looking for trouble with God and the truth? It is because people do not understand the truth, do not know how to reflect on themselves, and do not look for problems within themselves. They always refuse to obey in their hearts, and when they are dismissed, they start challenging God. They are unable to accept the fact of their dismissal and are full of resentment. At this time, their corrupt dispositions are so severe, but when they look back on the matter later, they can see that it was right for them to be dismissed—it turned out to be a good thing, which enabled them to make some progress in life. When they are faced with dismissal again in the future, will they still challenge it in this way? (Less and less each time.) It’s normal for this to improve progressively. If nothing changes, this proves that they do not accept the truth at all and that they are nonbelievers. Then they are thoroughly exposed and cast out, and have no way to attain salvation.

Failures, stumbles, and dismissals are things that all people must experience during the process of attaining salvation and of being made perfect, so do not make a big fuss over them. When you see people who have been dismissed suffering and becoming negative, do not make fun of them, because someday you may be dismissed, and be worse off than they are. If one day you are faced with dismissal, will you become negative and cry bitterly? Will you complain? Will you want to give up on your faith? It depends on whether you have accepted the truth during the time that you have believed in God, how many truths you have actually understood, and whether the truths you think you understand are your reality. If these truths have become your reality, then you will have the stature to overcome this trial and refinement; if you do not possess the truth reality, this dismissal will be a disaster for you, and if it ends badly, you will be knocked down and unable to get back up. Some people have a little bit of conscience, and they say, “I have enjoyed so much of God’s grace, I have listened to sermons for so many years, and God has given me a lot of love. I can’t forget it. At the very least, I must repay God’s love.” Then they perform their duties negatively and passively, not striving toward the truth, without any life entry at all. If you can hold to your duty, you can be considered as having some conscience; this is the very least that you should achieve. But if you are always perfunctory and careless in your duty, not following the principles, having no life entry, and not getting any results in your duty, then is this fulfilling your duty? If you are always performing your duty in a perfunctory and careless manner, will you be able to stand firm in the disasters? Can you guarantee that you will not betray God? Therefore, to perform your duty, you must at least have conscience and reason; real results can only be achieved by performing one’s duty in true accordance with one’s conscience and reason. This is the minimum standard. If you cannot even meet this standard, then you are being perfunctory and careless, you are able to deceive and betray God, and you are not even rendering service adequately. Even if you do not leave God’s house, you will have already been cast out by God long ago. Such a person is unsalvageable. This is caused by a lack of conscience and reason and from consistently performing one’s duty in a perfunctory and careless manner. The blisters on your feet are caused by the path that you have walked and cannot be blamed on others. If, ultimately, you are not saved but cursed, and you end up like Paul, then you cannot blame anyone else. That is your own path and your own choice. Therefore, the bottom line in whether or not people can be saved is chiefly whether they have conscience and reason. If people can hold to this line, then they are possessed of conscience and reason. Such people have hope of salvation. If they cross this line, they will be cast out. What is your red line? You say, “Even if God beats and scolds me, and rejects me, and won’t save me, I won’t have any complaints. I will be like an ox or a horse: I will keep doing service to the very end, repaying God’s love.” All that sounds nice, but are you truly capable of achieving this? If you really are possessed of such character and resolve, then I tell you plainly: You have hope of salvation. If you do not have this character, if you are without this conscience and reason, then even if you want to do service, you will be unable to hold firm until the very end. Do you know how God will act toward you? You do not. Do you know how God will test you? You don’t know this, either. If you lack a baseline of conscience and reason by which to conduct yourself, do not possess the correct approach of pursuit, and your views on life and values are not in line with the truth, then when you encounter setbacks and failures, or trials and refinements, you will not be able to stand firm—in which case you will be in danger. What role do conscience and reason play? If you say, “I’ve heard so many sermons, and I do actually understand some truth. But I haven’t put it into practice, I have not satisfied God, God does not endorse me—and if, ultimately, God abandons me, and no longer wants me, this will be the righteousness of God. Even if God punishes and curses me, I will not leave God. Wherever I go, I am a creature of God, I will forever believe in God, and even if I have to work like an ox or a horse, I will never stop following God, and I don’t care what my end is”—if you truly have this resolve and this conscience and reason, then you will be able to stand firm. If you lack this resolve, and have never thought about these things, then there is undoubtedly a problem with your character, with your conscience and reason. That is because, in your heart, you have never wanted to fulfill your duty to God. All you ever do is demand blessings from God. You are always calculating, in your mind, what blessings you will receive for making an effort or suffering hardship in God’s house. If all you do is calculate these things, it will be very difficult for you to stand firm. Whether or not you can be saved depends on just whether or not you have conscience and reason. If you are not possessed of conscience and reason, you are not fit to be saved, for God does not save demons and beasts. If you choose to walk the path of pursuing the truth, and walk the path of Peter, the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and guide you in understanding the truth, and will create situations for you that cause you to experience many trials and refinements to be made perfect. If you do not choose the path of pursuing the truth, but walk the path of Paul the antichrist, then sorry—God will still test and examine you. But there is no denying that you will not stand up to God’s examination; when something happens to you, you will complain about God, and when you are tested, you will forsake God. At that moment your conscience and reason will be of no use, and you will be cast out. God does not save people who have no conscience or reason; this is the minimum standard.

You must at least meet the standard of conscience and reason. That is, if God no longer wants you, how should you treat Him? You should say, “God gave me this breath. God chose me. Today I came to know the Creator and understand so many truths, but I haven’t put them into practice. It is in my nature to dislike the truth, and I have no conscience. But regardless of whether or not I can practice the truth in the future or be saved, I will always acknowledge God and that the Creator is righteous. This fact cannot be changed. One should not stop acknowledging God and the Creator just because there is no hope of one’s own salvation or that one has no outcome or destination. This would be a rebellious thought. If I think this way, I should be cursed. No matter what God does, one should obey; this is what it means to have reason. My stature is too small to obey, and I should be punished if I disobey or betray God. However, no matter how God treats me, my determination to follow God will not change. I will always be a creature of God. Regardless of whether God accepts me or not, I am willing to be a pawn, service-doer, and foil under God’s sovereignty. I must have this determination.” No matter whether or not you have this thought now, have ever thought this way, or have made this determination, you must have this reason anyway. If you don’t have this reason or this kind of humanity, then salvation for you is just empty talk. Is this not a fact? This is how it is. You have been informed of the bare minimum standard. When you face problems, you should think more about this aspect. This is good for you and is a way to protect yourself. If you really do not possess this aspect of humanity, then you are in great danger. You must pray, “God, I have never treated You as God. I’ve only treated You like air, as something vague and invisible. Facing this issue today, I feel that I have been cast out and have no good destination. Regardless of how You determine my outcome, I am willing to obey You. I must follow You and cannot leave You. Those who leave You and live under Satan’s power are not human. They are devils. I don’t want to be a devil. I want to be human. I want to follow God, not Satan.” If you can pray for this matter every day and climb higher, your heart will become clearer and clearer, and you will have a path of practice. When facing difficulties, if a person has a rebellious disposition, then their heart becomes intransigent, and they are not willing to strive toward the truth. Even if they make a mistake, they don’t care. They do whatever they want. They start to become willful and dissolute and don’t want to pray anymore. What should be done at this point? There is one most basic principle that can protect you. That is, when you are most negative and weak, if you have words in your heart that rebel against God, resist God, blaspheme God, or judge God, do not say them out loud, nor do anything that would incite others to resist God. That way, when you pray to God and ask for His protection, you can overcome difficulties. This is what is most important. When you have a normal rationality, when you come out of negative, depraved, indulgent, or resistant states, you may think to yourself, “Luckily, I didn’t do that at the beginning. If I had, I would have been a sinner condemned through the ages and guilty of unforgivable evil.” How is this path? (It is good.) Where is the good in it? (It can keep people from offending God’s disposition.) Don’t offend God’s disposition. Once you say out loud something that offends God’s disposition, can you take it back? Once a word is uttered, it becomes a fait accompli. It is condemned by God. Once God condemns you, you are in trouble. When a person believes in God, no matter how much suffering they endure, how they expend themselves, or how they choose to believe, the purpose is not to be cursed or condemned by God, but to hear the Creator say, “You are commended by God. You can survive, and are the object of God’s salvation.” This is hard to come by. It is not easy, so people must cooperate. Never say anything that is detrimental to your own salvation. You must restrain yourself at critical times and not do anything to cause trouble. Let Me tell you, once you cause trouble and are condemned by God, if you offend God’s disposition, you will never be able to undo it. Don’t do or say things indiscriminately. You must restrain yourself and must not indulge. When you have restrained yourself, it proves that you have a bottom line. If you restrain yourself, admit the existence of God, believe in God’s sovereignty, and have a God-fearing heart until the very end, God will see this. You have not said anything that offended God, nor done anything sinful. God can examine the thoughts within your heart. Since you have somewhat of a God-fearing heart, even though you have absurd thoughts, you have not said these out loud, nor done anything to resist God. God will find this behavior of yours acceptable. How will God treat you? God will continue to guide you out of such predicaments. So, do you still have hope of salvation? This is extremely rare. What should be done when facing problems? Restrain yourself and never indulge. When you indulge, it is a result of impulsive emotions. Your arrogant nature is on the verge of erupting and you feel full of grievances and justifications. You become too resentful and feel compelled to speak out. At this moment, it is impossible to restrain yourself. As a result, the ugly side of your satanic disposition is revealed, and God’s disposition is most likely offended at this time. What is the purpose of restraint? Being cautious about one’s words, deeds, and footsteps so as to protect oneself, to not offend God’s disposition, and to leave oneself with a last ray of hope for salvation. Therefore, it is necessary to restrain yourself. No matter how greatly you feel you have been wronged, no matter how much pain and sadness you feel in your heart, you should restrain yourself. This is a most worthwhile endeavor! After restraining yourself, there is no way you will regret it. Practicing in this way is beneficial to people overall, whether it is done as a means to believe in God or as a secret trick to protect oneself. People with a corrupt disposition sometimes exhibit a certain level of insanity, with no rationality and no principles in their actions. You don’t even know when your corrupt disposition will flare up. When you burst out and say something that denies and condemns God, it is entirely too late and regretting it will be of no use. The consequences will be unimaginable. You may be cast out and the Holy Spirit will no longer work on you. Does that not mean everything is over? You will have absolutely no hope of salvation.

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Every person, to a greater or lesser extent, has committed transgressions. When you do not know that something is a transgression, you will regard it with a hazy state of mind, and perhaps you will still cling to your own opinions, practices, and ways of understanding it—but, one day, whether through reading God’s words, fellowshiping with your brothers and sisters, or by God’s revelation, you will learn that this thing is a transgression, and an offense against God. What will your attitude be then? Will you be truly remorseful, or will you be reasoning and arguing, clinging to your own ideas, believing that although what you did does not accord with the truth, it also isn’t that big of a problem? This relates to the attitude that you have toward God. What attitude did David have toward his transgression? (Remorse.) Remorse—which means that he hated himself in his heart, and would never commit that transgression again. So, what did he do? He prayed, asking God to punish him, and said: “If I make this mistake again, may God punish me and cause me to die!” Such was his resolve; that was true remorse. Can ordinary people achieve this? For ordinary people, if they do not try to reason or if they can tacitly admit fault then that is already quite good. Is being unwilling to bring up the matter again for fear of losing face true remorse? It is being distressed and upset over losing face, not remorse. True remorse is hating oneself for having done evil, feeling pain and discomfort for having been capable of doing evil, blaming oneself, and even cursing oneself. It is being able to vow afterward to never do such evil again and being willing to accept God’s punishment and to suffer a miserable death if they ever do evil again. This is true remorse. If one always feels in their heart that they have done no evil, and that their actions merely didn’t accord with the principles or were caused by a lack of wisdom, and they believe that if they act in secret then nothing will go wrong, can they feel true remorse thinking this way? Absolutely not, because they do not know the essence of their own evil. Even if they loathe themselves a little bit, they only hate themselves for being unwise, and for not handling the situation well. They do not actually realize that the reason they are able to do evil is due to a problem with their nature essence, that it is due to their lack of humanity, their bad disposition, and immorality. People like this will never have true remorse. Why do people need to reflect on themselves before God when they have done something wrong or committed transgressions? This is because knowing one’s own nature essence is not easy. Admitting that one has made a mistake and knowing where the mistake lies is easy to do. However, it is not easy to know the source of one’s mistakes and exactly what kind of disposition was revealed. Therefore, when most people have done something wrong, they only admit that they were wrong, but they do not feel remorse in their hearts, nor do they hate themselves. In this way, they fall short of true repentance. To achieve true repentance, one must abandon the evil that they have done and be able to guarantee that they will never do it again. Only then can true repentance be achieved. If you always approach matters based on your own notions and imaginings, never reflecting or knowing yourself, and you just go through the motions in a perfunctory and careless way, then you have not really repented and you have not truly changed at all. If God wants to expose you, how should you approach this? What will your attitude be? (I will accept God’s punishment.) Accepting God’s punishment—this is the type of attitude you must have. At the same time, you must accept God’s scrutiny. It is better this way, so that you can truly know yourself and truly repent. If a person does not have true remorse, it will be impossible for them to stop doing evil. At any time and any place, they will be capable of returning to their old ways, of living according to their satanic disposition, and of even making the same mistakes time and time again. Thus, they are not a person who has truly repented. In this way, they are thoroughly revealed. So, what can people do to completely free themselves from transgressions? They must seek the truth to solve problems and they must also be able to practice the truth. This is the correct attitude for people to have toward the truth. How should people practice the truth, then? No matter what temptations or trials you encounter, you must truly pray to God in your heart and submit to God’s orchestrations. Some trials are also temptations—why does God allow you to encounter such things? It is not accidental nor by chance that God permits such things to happen to you. It is God testing and inspecting you. If you do not accept this inspection, if you do not pay attention to this matter, is your attitude toward God not exposed at this time? What is your attitude toward God? If you have an indifferent and contemptuous attitude toward the environments God furnishes for you and the trials God gives you, and you neither pray nor seek, nor find a path of practice through it, this reveals that you do not have a submissive attitude toward God. How can God save such a person? Is it possible for them to be made perfect by God? Absolutely not. This is because you do not have a submissive attitude toward God, and even if God arranges an environment for you, you will not experience it, and you will not cooperate with it. This shows your contempt for God, that you do not take God’s work seriously, and that you are even capable of putting aside God’s words and truths, which means that you are not experiencing the work of God. In that case, how can you achieve salvation? Those who do not love the truth cannot experience God’s work. There is no way to achieve salvation while believing in God in this manner. This means that one’s attitude toward God and the truth is very important and that it is directly related to whether one can be saved. People who do not pay attention to this are foolish and ignorant.

Excerpt 62

It has been said “the one who follows to the end will be saved,” but is this easy to put into practice? It is not, and many who are hunted down and persecuted by the great red dragon become too timid and afraid to follow God. Why did they fall down? Because they lack genuine faith. Some people can accept the truth, pray to God, rely on God, and they stand firm in trials and tribulations, while others cannot follow to the end. At some point during trials and tribulations, they will fall, lose their testimony, and be unable to pick themselves up and carry on. All the things that arise each day, big or small, that can shake your resolution, occupy your heart, or restrict your ability to do your duty and your forward progress require diligent treatment; you should examine them carefully and seek the truth. These are all problems that must be solved as you experience. Some people become negative, complain, and quit their duties when they run into difficulties, and they are unable to crawl back to their feet after each setback. All these people are fools who do not love the truth, and they would not gain it with even a lifetime of faith. How could such fools follow to the end? If the same thing happens to you ten times, but you gain nothing from it, then you are a mediocre, useless person. Astute people and those of true caliber who understand spiritual matters are seekers of the truth; should something happen to them ten times, then, in perhaps eight of those cases, they would be able to gain some enlightenment, learn some lesson, understand some truth, and make some progress. When things befall a fool ten times—one who does not understand spiritual matters—not once will it benefit their life, not once will it change them, and not once will it cause them to know their ugly face, in which case it is over for them. Each time something happens to them, they fall down, and each time they fall down, they need someone else to support them and coax them; without support and coaxing, they cannot rise, and each time something happens, they are in danger of falling and of being degraded. Is this not the end for them? Are there any other grounds for such useless people to be saved? God’s salvation of mankind is a salvation of those who love the truth, a salvation of the part of them with will and resolve, and the part of them that yearns for truth and justice in their hearts. A person’s resolve is the part of them in their heart that yearns for justice, goodness, and truth, and is possessed of conscience. God saves this part of people, and through it, He changes their corrupt disposition, so that they may understand and gain the truth, so that their corruption may be cleansed, and their life disposition may be transformed. If you do not have these things within you, you cannot be saved. If, within you, there is no love for the truth or aspiration for justice and light; if, whenever you encounter evil things, you have neither the will to cast them off nor the resolve to suffer hardship; if, moreover, your conscience is numb; if your faculty for receiving truth is also benumbed, and you are not perceptive of the truth or of events that arise; and if you are undiscerning in all matters, and in the face of whatever befalls you, you are unable to seek the truth to resolve problems and are constantly negative, then there is no way for you to be saved. Such a person has nothing to recommend them, nothing that is worth God working on. Their conscience is numb, their mind is muddied, and they do not love the truth, nor yearn for justice deep in their heart, and, no matter how clearly or transparently God speaks of the truth, they have not the slightest reaction; it is as if their heart is already dead. Are things not over for them? A person with a breath left in them may be saved by artificial respiration, but, if they have already died and their soul has left, artificial respiration will do nothing. If, when confronted with problems and difficulties, a person shrinks back and avoids them, they do not seek the truth at all, and they choose to be negative and slack in their work, then they are revealed for what they really are. Such people have no experiential testimony at all. They are just freeloaders, dead weight, they are useless in God’s house, and they are utterly doomed. Only those who can seek the truth to solve problems are people with stature, and only they can stand firm in testimony. When you encounter problems and difficulties, you must face them with a cool head, and react to them in the right way, and you must make a choice. You should learn to use the truth to solve problems. Whether the truths that you ordinarily understand are profound or shallow, you should make use of them. Truths are not merely words that come out of your mouth when something happens to you, nor are they used expressly to solve the problems of others; instead, they are to be used to solve the problems and difficulties you have. That is what’s most important. And only when you solve your own problems will you be able to solve those of others. Why is it said that Peter is a fruit? Because there are things of worth in him, things worth perfecting. He sought the truth in all things, had resolve, and was firm of will; he had reason, was willing to suffer hardship, and loved the truth in his heart; he did not let go of what came to pass, and he was able to learn lessons from all things. These are all strong points. If you have none of these strong points, it means trouble. It will not be easy for you to gain the truth and be saved. If you don’t know how to experience or don’t have experience, you won’t be able to solve other people’s difficulties. Because you are incapable of practicing and experiencing God’s words, and have no idea what to do when things happen to you, because you get upset and burst into tears when you encounter problems, and because you become negative and run away when you suffer some minor setback, and you are incapable of reacting in the right way—because of all this, it is therefore not possible for you to gain life entry. How can you provide for others without life entry? To provide for people’s lives, you must fellowship the truth clearly and be able to fellowship the principles of practice clearly in order to solve problems. For someone who has heart and spirit, you need only say a little, and they’ll get it. But only understanding a little of the truth will not do. They must also have the path and principles of practice. Only this will help them to practice the truth. Even when people understand spiritual things, and it only takes a few words for them to understand them, if they don’t practice the truth there will be no life entry. If they can’t accept the truth, then it’s all over for them, and they will never be able to enter the truth realities. You can hold some people’s hand as you teach them, and they will seem to understand at the time, but as soon as you let go, they become confused again. This is not someone who understands spiritual matters. If, no matter what problems you encounter, you are negative and weak, you have no testimony at all, and you don’t cooperate in what you should do and what you should cooperate in, this proves that you do not have God in your heart, and you are not a person who loves the truth. Never mind how the work of the Holy Spirit moves people, merely by experiencing God’s work for many years, listening to so many truths, having a little conscience, and relying on self-restraint, people should at least be able to meet the minimum standards and not be rebuked by their consciences. People should not be as numb and weak as they now are, and it is simply unthinkable that they are in this state. Perhaps you have gone through the last few years in a daze, not pursuing the truth whatsoever or making any progress at all. If this isn’t the case, how could you still be so numb and dull? When you are this way, it is entirely due to your own foolishness and ignorance, and you cannot blame anyone else. The truth is not partial to certain people over others. If you don’t accept the truth, and you don’t seek the truth to solve problems, how can you change? Some people feel that their caliber is too low and that they lack the comprehension ability, so they delimit themselves, and they feel that no matter how much they pursue the truth, they will not be able to meet God’s requirements. They think that no matter how hard they try, it’s useless, and that’s all there is to it, so they are always negative, and as a result, even after years of believing in God, they haven’t gained any truth. Without doing the hard work to pursue the truth, you say that your caliber is too poor, you give up on yourself, and you always live in a negative state. As a result, you don’t understand the truth that you should understand or practice the truth within your ability—aren’t you the one hindering yourself? If you always say that your caliber isn’t good enough, isn’t this evading and shirking responsibility? If you can suffer, pay a price, and gain the work of the Holy Spirit, then you will inevitably be able to understand some truths and enter into some realities. If you don’t look to or rely on God, and you give up on yourself without putting in any effort or paying a price, and simply surrender, then you are a good-for-nothing, and lack a shred of conscience and reason. No matter whether your caliber is poor or outstanding, if you have a bit of conscience and reason, you should properly complete what you ought to do and your mission; being a deserter is a terrible thing and a betrayal of God. This is irredeemable. Pursuing the truth requires a firm will, and people who are too negative or weak will accomplish nothing. They will not be able to believe in God until the end, and, if they wish to obtain the truth and achieve a change of disposition, they have less hope still. Only those who are resolved and pursue the truth can obtain it and be perfected by God.

Excerpt 63

Some people often fall ill, but no matter how much they pray to God, they still don’t get better. No matter how much they want to rid themselves of their illness, they cannot. Sometimes, they may even face life-threatening conditions and are forced to confront them head-on. In fact, if one really has faith in God in their heart, they first of all must know that a person’s lifespan is in God’s hands. The timing of one’s birth and death is predestined by God. When God gives people illness, there is a reason behind it—it has meaning. It feels like sickness to them, but, in actual fact, what they have been given is grace, not illness. People must first of all recognize and be sure about this fact, and take it seriously. When people are suffering from illness, they can come often before God, and make sure to do what they should, with prudence and caution, and treat their duty with greater care and diligence than others. As far as people are concerned, this is a protection, not shackles. It is the negative way of handling things. In addition, everyone’s lifespan has been predetermined by God. An illness may appear to be terminal from a medical standpoint, but from God’s point of view, if your life must still go on and your time has yet to come, then you couldn’t die even if you wanted to. If God has given you a commission, and your mission is not over, then you will not even die from an illness that is supposed to be fatal—God will not take you yet. Even if you do not pray and seek the truth, or do not attend to treating your illness, or even if you put off your treatment, you will not die. This is particularly true for those who have received a commission from God: When their mission has yet to be completed, no matter what illness befalls them, they must not die straight away; they must live until the final moment of the mission’s completion. Do you have this faith? If you do not, you will only offer some superficial prayers to God, saying, “God! I have to complete the commission You gave me. I want to spend my final days in utter devotion to You, so that I will leave no regrets behind. You must protect me!” Although you pray like this, if you don’t take the initiative to seek the truth, then you will not have the will and the strength to exercise loyalty. As you are not willing to pay the real price, you often use this kind of excuse and this method to pray to God and bargain with Him—is this a person who pursues the truth? If your illness were to be cured, would you really be able to perform your duty well? Not necessarily. The fact is that no matter whether your bargaining is meant to get your illness cured and keep you from dying, or whether you have some other intent or goal in it, from God’s point of view, if you can fulfill your duty and are still of use, if God has decided that you are to be used, then you will not die. You will not be able to die even if you want to. But if you make trouble, and commit all manner of wicked deeds, and aggravate God’s disposition, you will die swiftly; your life will be cut short. Everyone’s lifespan was determined by God before the creation of the world. If they can obey the arrangements and orchestrations of God, then regardless of whether they suffer illness or not, and whether they are in good or poor health, they will live the number of years predetermined by God. Do you have this faith? If you only acknowledge this based on doctrine, then you do not have true faith, and it is useless to say nice-sounding words; if you confirm from the bottom of your heart that God will do this, your approach and way of practice will naturally change. Of course, people must have some common sense about maintaining their health during their life regardless of whether they become sick or not. This is the instinct that God has given to man. It is the reason and common sense that one should possess within the free will that God has given them. Once you are sick, you should understand some common sense regarding health care and treatment for dealing with this illness—this is what you should do. However, treating your illness in this way is not meant to challenge the lifespan set for you by God, nor is it to guarantee that you can live out the lifespan that He has set for you. What does this mean? It can be put this way: In a passive regard, if you do not take your illness seriously, if you fulfill your duty however you should, and get a bit more rest than others, if you have not delayed your duty, your illness will not get worse, and it will not kill you. Everything depends on what God does. In other words, if, in God’s view, your predestined lifespan has not yet run its course, then, even if you get sick, He will not allow you to die. If your illness is not terminal, but your time has come, then God will take you away whenever He wants. Is this not completely at the mercy of God’s thought? It is at the mercy of His predetermination! This is how you should look at this matter. You might do your part and go to the doctor, take some medicine, look after your health, and get exercise, but you need to understand deep down that a person’s life is in God’s hands, a person’s lifespan is predetermined by God, and no one can transcend what God has predetermined. If you do not possess even this small measure of understanding, then you do not truly have faith, and do not actually believe in God.

Some people do everything possible, using various methods to treat their illnesses, but no matter what treatment is used, they cannot be cured. The more they are treated, the more serious the illness becomes. Instead of praying to God to find out exactly what is going on with the illness, and looking for the root cause, they take matters into their own hands. They end up employing a lot of methods and spending quite a bit of money, but their disease still does not get cured. Then, once they’ve given up on treatment, the illness unexpectedly heals on its own after some time, and they do not know how it happened. Some people develop an unremarkable disease and are not really concerned about it, but one day their condition worsens and they die suddenly. What’s going on with that? People are unable to fathom that; actually, from God’s point of view, this is because that person’s mission in this world was completed, so He took them away. People often say, “People don’t die if they aren’t sick.” Is this really the case? There have been people who, after being examined at the hospital, were found to have no illness. They were extremely healthy but ended up dying within a few days. This is called dying without sickness. There are many such people. This means that a person has reached the end of their life, and they have been taken back to the spiritual world. Some people have survived cancer and tuberculosis and still lived into their seventies or eighties. There are quite a few such people. All this hinges on God’s ordinations. Having this understanding is true faith in God. If you are physically sick and you need to take some medicine to manage your condition, then you should take the medicine or get exercise regularly, relaxing and handling it calmly. What kind of attitude is this? This is an attitude of genuine faith in God. Suppose you do not take your medicine, do not get shots, do not exercise, do not take care of your health, and then you’re still worried to death, praying all the time: “Oh, God, I have to perform my duties properly, my mission hasn’t been completed, I’m not ready to die. I want to fulfill my duties and complete Your commission. If I die, I will not be able to complete Your commission. I don’t want to leave behind any regrets. God, please listen to my prayers; let me live on so I can fulfill my duties and complete Your commission. I wish to praise You forever and to see Your day of glory as soon as possible.” By all outward appearances, you do not take medicine or get any shots, and you seem very strong and full of faith in God. In actuality, your faith is smaller than a mustard seed. You are scared to death, and you have no faith in God. How is it that you have no faith? How did this happen? Human beings simply do not understand the Creator’s attitude, principles, and ways of dealing with His created beings, so they use their own limited perspective, notions, and imaginings to guess what God will do. They want to gamble with God to see whether God will heal them and let them live a long life. Isn’t this foolish? If God allows you to live, you will not die no matter how sick you get. If God does not allow you to live, then even if you are not sick, you will still die if that is what must be. The span of your life is predetermined by God. To know this is true knowledge and true faith. So, does God make people fall sick at random? It is not random; it is a way to refine their faith. It is suffering that people must endure. If He makes you fall sick, do not try to escape it; if He does not, then do not request it. All is in the Creator’s hands, and people must learn to let nature take its course. What is nature? Nothing in nature is random; it all comes from God. This is true. Among sufferers of the same disease, some die and others live; all of this was predetermined by God. If you can live, it proves that you have not yet completed the mission God gave you. You should work hard at completing it, and cherish this time; do not waste it. This is what it is. If you are sick, do not try to escape it, and, if you are not sick, do not request it. In any matter, you cannot get what you want merely by requesting it, nor can you escape anything just because you want to. No one can change that which God has decided to do.

Prior to being nailed to the cross, the Lord Jesus offered a prayer. How exactly was it worded? (“If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).) As members of created humanity, people should all undergo such a process of seeking, because they do not understand God’s will. This is a normal process. However, no matter how you seek, and no matter how long, arduous, or difficult the process of seeking might be, nothing God determined to do has ever changed since the beginning, nor has He ever decided to change it. People may seek and wait, and God does permit them a process by which to gain understanding, knowledge, and clarity on what is actually true, but He would never alter a single decision. Therefore, you should not feel that things happen to you at random, or that, when you somehow escape disaster and certain death, it is dumb luck and coincidence. It is not. God has a preset plan and specific arrangements for every created being, from the greatest to the smallest, from the macroscopic—planets and the cosmos—down to created mankind, and even microorganisms. This is God’s omnipotence. Some people who fall ill say their illness came from the exhaustion of some activity or from having eaten the wrong thing accidentally. Do not look for such reasons; they are all negative and resistant attitudes. You should face with positivity the environments, people, events, and things that God has arranged for you. Do not look for objective reasons; rather, you should seek and understand exactly what God’s intention and attitude are in presenting you with this situation, and what attitude you should have as a created being when dealing with it; this is the path you must seek. When a person survives, it is never random, nor is it inevitable; the Creator’s arrangements, intentions, and sovereignty are always there. Nothing is hollow. Do you think God’s words, His will, and the truth are hollow? They are not! When people have not grasped God’s will, they are prone to certain notions and imaginings, and they feel as if those notions and imaginings are quite right, and that they must be in line with God’s intentions. People do not know what God’s intentions are, so they feel, “My thinking this way is right. I have genuine faith. I fear and obey God, I am a person who loves God.” In fact, God utterly detests your notions and imaginings. While you’re thinking how right you are, you actually do not understand the truth at all, nor have you obtained the truth. When one day you see all these matters clearly and realize that all these things are ultimately ruled, arranged, and ordained by the Creator, you will have learned your lessons from all the people, events, and things that you have encountered, and you will have achieved the results that you are due. Only then will you truly understand God’s will and realize that everything God does is to save people, and that God’s good intentions and earnest efforts are contained within it. When you have this understanding, you should thank and praise God, never feeling like: “God has ordained me to perform this duty, so I must be very important in God’s heart. God cannot abandon me and He will not let me die.” This is wrong. God has a method in everything He does. What does that mean? God ordains when a person will be born, when they will die, and how many missions they will have in this life. God has ordained your lifespan. He will not end your lifespan early because of your poor performance in this life, nor will He extend your life several years due to good performance in this life. This is what is called having a method. Regarding those bad people who commit all manner of evil deeds in the world, have caused great harm to the world, who committed many harmful deeds that endangered others during a certain period, some people say: “God is blind. Why doesn’t He destroy such people?” Do you know what the cause of this is? What is the root cause behind this? The root cause is this: Positive figures play a positive role, and negative figures play a negative role. Everyone has a mission, everyone has a role, everyone’s life and death have been predestined long ago; God would never upset this. When you were born, you came into this world on time, not one minute or one second off schedule; when you die and your soul departs, that will also not be one minute or one second off schedule. God will not change the life span that was originally destined for a person because of their great contribution to humankind, letting them live an extra twenty or thirty years. God has never done this and will never do this in the future. He will also not cause a person to die ahead of schedule just because they are especially harmful to humankind. God will never do that. This is the rule and law of heaven, and God will never violate it. What have you seen from this matter? (No one can change the things that are ordained by God.) God Himself would never upset nor change the things that He has ordained or planned. This is a fact; furthermore, from this matter, we see God’s power and wisdom. God has already fully planned the genesis, advent, lifespan, ending of all the creatures of God, as well as their life’s mission and the role they play in all mankind. No one can change these things; this is the authority of the Creator. The advent of every creature, their life’s mission, when their lifespan will end—all of these laws have been ordained by God long ago, just as God ordained the orbit of every celestial body; which orbit these celestial bodies follow, for how many years, how they orbit, what laws they follow—this was all ordained by God long ago, unchanged for thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of years. This is ordained by God, and this is His authority. What about man, then, that tiny created being? Let’s put man aside and first talk about dogs. God has ordained that they live for about ten years, and that they must die when they reach that age. Can this timeframe be changed? (No.) We won’t go into special cases. The lifespan of a small animal, which humans cannot even change, is predestined by God—then how not so for man? So, no matter what people ask for, the last thing they should ask for is an extension to their lifespan. The blessings and misfortunes of a person’s life, and when a person will die—these things are predestined by God. No one can change them, and no amount of asking will have any effect. You can ask God to enlighten you about some things, such as what you experience, what you recognize, and what you can gain from an environment. That is to say, you can seek the truth and pray to God for life entry and a change in your life disposition. If your sincerity can move God, you will be able to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. This is what God is willing to do. But you should be sensible. You cannot ask God for longevity or immortality, because your lifespan is ordained by God. It cannot be changed by people, and no amount of asking will make a difference. As long as it is ordained by God, He will not change it. If you acknowledge that God is the Creator, that God is your Sovereign, your God and your Lord, then you must never ask for these things. What does God tell people to ask for? What does the Lord’s Prayer say? “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). What else should you ask for? Do you know? You should perform your duties as created beings within God’s management work. You should complete the commissions given to you by God, fulfill your mission properly, avoid failing your mission, be worthy of your God-given life and existence, and not let this life be wasted or in vain. In this life, you should come to know the Creator, live out a likeness befitting a created being, and satisfy the Creator’s wishes—these are the things you should ask for. What to ask for and what not to ask for, which things to ask for are in line with God’s will and which things are not, whether what you wish to ask for can be granted—these matters should be clear in your heart first. Don’t act foolishly. If what you’re asking for has already been ordained by God, then your prayers are in vain. Isn’t it foolish for you to pray for it then? Isn’t this clashing with God? God has you live to be eighty years old, but you demand living to be a hundred; God has you live to be thirty years old, but you demand reaching sixty. Isn’t this rebelliousness? Isn’t this resisting God? People should be sensible and not do foolish things.

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